Temple ponds are not suitable for keeping turtles, a senior vet said after a yellow-headed temple turtle was saved from a temple’s polluted pond.
Dr Nantarika Chansue, Thailand's leading aquatic animal veterinarian, posted pictures of an ill-shaped large yellow-headed temple turtle (Hieremys annandalei) on Monday. Half of its shell was eroded and rotten from serious infection.
On her Facebook fanpage “Compassionate vets” she cautioned the public not to “make merit” by releasing turtles into temple ponds, as they are an unsuitable habitat for animals.
Nantarika said the pictured turtle was saved from a dirty small pond in a temple. It suffered from a severe infection of its shell and body. Apart from the wounds, the animal was sick from poisons in its liver, kidney and bloodstream, as a result of having to live in polluted water for a long period of time.
It is now being treated at Chulalongkorn University’s Veterinary Medical Aquatic Animals Research Center under the care of a skilled veterinarian team, she said.
“After receiving intensive treatment, the condition of this turtle is much improved, as it can now eat normally,” Nantarika said.
She emphasised that small ponds in the temples are unsuitable and unsanitary places to raise turtles, as most do not have water treatment systems to keep water clean which is needed to sustain a healthy environment for the animals.
It is improper to make merit by releasing turtles in temple ponds as the good intention can mean life-long agony for the turtles, she warned.